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Festival Launch: Play, Perception & Place (Revisited)

(E1), Festival themes Place, Perception and Play, Thursday 4th November 2021, 7 - 8 pm

Revisiting our festival themes of Place, Perception and Play, the launch event kicks off 3 full days of poetry with four poets from four incredible independent presses. With readings from Sarah Doyle, Vanessa Lampert, Samatar Elmi and Stephen Payne, and introducing our Festival Artist, Arjuna Gunarathne. Hosted by Paul Stephenson and Patricia Debney.

Poetry London Celebrates 100 issues

(E2), After Dinner Event (1), Thursday 4th November 2021, 9 - 10 pm


Celebrate the 100th edition of Poetry London, with editor André Naffis-Sahely, and recently featured poets Rachel Long, Vidyan Ravinthiran and Momtaza Mehri alongside Poetry London mentees, Jemilea Wisdom-Baako and Janine Bradbury. From modest beginnings in 1988, when it was a listings newsletter, Poetry London has developed into one of the UK’s leading poetry magazines. Hosted by André Naffis-Sahely.

Fenland Poetry Journal Showcase

(E3), Place (2), Friday 5th November 2021, 12 - 1 pm


With Jonathan Totman, Agnieszka Studzińska, Dominic O’Sullivan, Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana, Anna Maria Mickiewicz, Chris Emery, plus special guest Wendy Cope. The Fenland Poetry Journal is a bi-annual poetry magazine founded in Fenland, which recently published its 5th issue. Editor Elisabeth Sennitt Clough’s objective in creating a new poetry and art magazine was to connect the local with the international. Hosted by Elisabeth Sennitt Clough.


Poetry on Mental Health

(E4), Perception (1) , Friday 5th November 2021, 3 - 4 pm

How do we express where we are, what this feels like, and whether we will get through it?  What do we observe in others and their struggles? And what about love, family, and relationships? For this event we are delighted to feature Briony Bax, Louisa Campbell, Rachel Lewis and Andrew McMillan. Hosted by Paul Stephenson

Seren at 40 

(E5), Afternoon Talk and Reading (1) , Friday 5th November 2021, 5 - 6 pm

This special event brings together four vibrant poets published in Seren’s 40th year. The poets are introduced by Seren's long-standing Poetry Editor, Amy Wack, who will talk about, and take questions on, Seren's evolution over the years.Featuring Kim Moore, Abeer Ameer, Carolyn Jess-Cooke and Dai George. Hosted by Amy Wack

Messing About and Crossing Out

(E6), Play (1) , Friday 5th November 2021, 7 - 8 pm

What is the mind, if not a trickster?  And what is the body if not a con-artist? Four poets read from new collections which spotlight invention and fantasy, drag and erasure. With Chrissy Williams, Katie Griffiths, James McDermott and Jon Stone. Hosted by Jane Commane


Contemporary Ethiopian Poetry – The Poetics of Truth

(E8), Place (2), Saturday 6th November 2021, 12 - 1pm

Readings by Chris Beckett (Host, London), Mihret Kebede (Vienna), Misrak Terefe (Addis Ababa), Kebedech Tekleab (New York), Bedilu Wakjira (Addis Ababa). This event brings together Ethiopian poets reading from London, Vienna, New York and Addis Ababa. All appeared in the recent Carcanet anthology of Ethiopian poetry in English, packed with all the energy, wit, and heartache of a beautiful country and language. Hosted by Chris Beckett.

On Poetry and Trauma
(E9), Perception (2), Saturday 6th November 2021, 3 - 4 pm

So many experiences of sexual abuse and trauma are silenced. How do we find the voices to speak about what is hidden, or secret? How does poetry emerge, and what does it sound like? Where do we go from here? With readings from Chaucer Cameron, Day Mattar, Tessa Foley and Alice Hiller. Hosted by Patricia Debney.  

Guillemot Press Poets on Poetry and Collaboration

(E7), After Dinner Event - Poetry Performance, Friday 5th November 2021, 9 - 10 pm

What synergies can be created when poets work with others, particularly across disciplines? Join four poets from Guillemot Press, who in 2021 celebrated writing and working together to produce two stand out titles. Sea Change, by Phoebe Power and Katrina Porteous and Marsh-River-Raft-Feather, by Petero Kalulé and Clarissa Álvarez. Hosted by Paul Stephenson.


Following in the footsteps of John Clare
(E10), Afternoon Talk (2), Saturday 6th November 2021, 5-6 pm

The event opens with a reading by Robert Selby of his recent debut collection of Suffolk-inspired poems. This is followed by exploration of Robert Hamberger’s re-tracing of John Clare's 1841 walk home from Epping Forest to Werrington, near Peterborough. In interview with the Leicester-based poet, Pam Thompson. Hosted by Kathy Pimlott.  

Poetry, Popular Culture and Video Games
(E11), Play (2), Saturday 6th November 2021, 7-8 pm

How are popular culture and video games vehicles for exploring themes such as grief, loss and transcendence – all within poetic modalities of ‘play’? Four poets carry us between experimental takes on traditional lyric, ecopoetics, post-internet pastoral and more multimedia approaches to gameplay poetics. With Maria Sledmere, Calum Rodger, Matthew Haigh and Emma Filtness. Hosted by Susannah Hart.
n.b click here for the video to accompany Calum Rodger's Rock, Star, North

Bad Betty Press Poets
(E12), After Dinner Event (2), Saturday 6th November 2021, 9-10 pm

Listen to some of the strange, raw and risk-taking poetry published by Bad Betty in a showcase event hosted by Bad Betty editor Amy Acre. Investigating perception, misconception and understanding, four poets read from collections that probe sexual politics, twist mythological narratives and experiment with disguise and role-play. With Kirsten Luckins, S.Niroshini, Joel Auterson and Shareen K Murayama. 

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Human Impact on Nature, Landscape and Climate 

(E13), Place (3), Sunday 7th November 2021, 12-1 pm

This event brings together four poets all exploring in their own way our human relationship with nature, landscape and climate, conscious of our footprint, and the impact of our lives on our environment. With Sarah Westcott, Steph Morris, Anna Saunders and Dom Bury. Hosted by Paul Stephenson

Script, Shape and Image - the Poem and the Page

(E14), Perception (3), Sunday 7th November 2021, 3-4 pm

How do form and image – what is on the page, and what is not – shape poetry? How can they be used to speak about otherwise difficult things? The three projects explored in this session move between image, script, and shape as ways of reaching their material. With Jo Morris Dixon, Shash Trevett, Lisa Kelly, Harry Man and Endre Ruset and featuring our Artist in Residence, Arjuna Gunarathne. You can view the artworks by Arjuna discussed in this podcast here. Hosted by Patricia Debney

Rory Waterman talks to Wendy Cope

(E15), Afternoon Talk (3), Sunday 7th November 2021, 5-6 pm

To celebrate a unique new study of the poet and her work, the academic, critic and poet Rory Waterman talks to Wendy Cope about her writing life and poetry career. Wendy Cope is one of Britain’s most popular poets: her first two collections have together sold almost half a million copies, and in 1998, when Ted Hughes died, she was the BBC listeners’ choice to succeed him as Poet Laureate. Hosted by Susannah Hart.

A Dream of Myself – Four Irish Poets Finale

(E16), Play (3), Sunday 7th November 2021, 7-8 pm

Can we live with the past, yet not be consumed by it? This event shows how themes of the sacred and the profane materialise in contemporary Irish poetry. With poets Seán Hewitt, Róisín Kelly, Aoife Lyall and Victoria Kennefick. Unmissable! Hosted by Ramona Herdman

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